I read Eragon this week, and couldn't help constantly comparing it, rather unfavorably, to Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, which I read about this time last year. They are both fantasies centered on the theme of a young man facing various trials and lessons which prepare him for leadership. (The Prydain Chronicles are aimed at a younger audience, though.)
Paolini is a young man, and his hero gets what young people think they need to face the world: skills, power, street smarts, and freedom.
Alexander, though, while he puts his hero and heroine through the obligatory battles and magical encounters of fantasy, focuses on some quite different lessons: humility, dependence on others, relinquishing of power, enough self-knowledge to cure one of self-focus, and a willingness to do the dull and unglamourous tasks simply because they need to be done. I'm not very old yet, myself (at least I don't FEEL very old yet), but my money's on Alexander's take on growing up.
Besides, he's a lot funnier.